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WEEK 19 2013

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Saturday 11 May 2013
Saturday - Went out to yard sales with my friends, picked up a few things. The most interesting being a shredder for $35, for small businesses. I have twelve or thirteen boxes of stuff I want to shred, and the little home units are just too slow. The local shredder asks $9 a box, which is tempting - it would take me twenty to thirty hours to do them all myself, so if I price my hours at anything above minimum wage it's a no-brainer to have someone else do them. But if this shredder is faster, then maybe it's OK.

Lunch was at Famous Dave's BBQ, which was greasy, salty, fatty and altogether wonderful.

Friday 10 May 2013
Friday - Not much going on. I feel kind of low, so haven't gotten a lot done. It's warming up again, too, probably in the mid to high 90's this weekend.

I spent some time looking at Apple's "Core Data" for iOS, which, like most Objective-C stuff, consists of a complicated, arbitrary and clumsy overlay on top of a bad C++ implementation. I think I'll ignore it and just use the underlaying SQLite stuff.

I went to see Iron Man 3. It was a bit of a disappointment, actually. I was a bit startled in these PC days to at first to see a Villain in a Hollywood Movie that was a Murderous Islamic Terrorist, but it soon became clear that this was just a front for a Mad Scientist with murky links to Evil Oil Companies. Srsly. Then they tried to give Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) some turmoil in his inner life, which failed miserably, since RDJr is at his best portraying an emotional age somewhere between the ages of 10 and 19. The best dialog of the show was, in fact, between him and a ten year old.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Thursday - Book #19 is Count to a Trillion, by John C. Wright. If you've been waiting for another fix of Post-Apocalyptic Texas Gunslinger SciFi this is the book for you. I enjoyed it....

Wright likes to write "Space Opera", and this qualifies.

He also likes "Space Princesses", and so this book has one.

"Because there has been some debate on whether Space Ponies who are princesses officially qualify as ‘Space Princesses’ I here re-print an article from 2010 which defines the Movement’s official stance on the matter."

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Wednesday  - OTR, down to Thousand Oaks & Cheeseboro. Our Inspector is out for a few days, so I'm checking up on the contractor at the site. Things seemed OK, no problems. He was actually starting a few things early, that we didn't expect until next week, but it should be OK. He's making progress on shearing the tank already.

I also met up with T, collected a new hardhat and some software, visited the old Conifer site (very empty looking now!), then had lunch and headed home.

Interestingly, I met a NPS person walking down the Conifer road, and gave him a ride back to his truck. He was doing a weekly "scat trace", which I assume is a check for bobcat poop. He said that the bobcat that the NPS had mentioned at our pre-construction meeting had indeed "denned up", and had two kits. In general there haven't been a lot of kittens this year - of the nine known females locally only two had birthed. Possibly this was a reaction to the dry weather.

I did stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things before going home. I'd forgotten my resolution to shop at the more inexpensive places, and was shocked at how high prices were at Vons. Gahhh.

Tuesday  7 May 2013
Tuesday - An interesting moment this morning. It was a bit cold and drizzly, and the cat came in and jumped on my lap as I was drinking my morning cup of coffee. On most mornings I take this sort of opportunity to hold him with my left arm, squeeze his jaws with my left hand, and squirt the detestable vitamin solution down his throat from a dropper in my right hand. At the beginning of all of this it was a struggle, as you can imagine. Today, after noticing that the battle had become somewhat pro forma in the last few weeks, I just tilted his head up with a slight pressure of one finger, and when I touched the dropper to his mouth he obediently opened and swallowed the medicine without a struggle.

In the evening I went over to R&S's place. We talked about the app for a bit, then I installed some RAM into their computers. There was a laptop, and that went quickly, from 768MB up to 1500MB, which should help. The desktop was a bit trickier, as it was kind of buried under stuff, but after unburying and blowing out a lot of dust I replaced a 128MB stick with a (new-to-us) 1GB stick. Which should have brought it up from 1.2GB to 2GB. The system didn't recognize the new memory though, and that's when the slowdown started.

It turned out to be a "patch Tuesday", so on the reboot Microsoft tried to install hundreds of megabytes of patches, Adobe Flash had a patch, Acrobat had an update, and the anti-virus had an update. All on a system struggling along with effectively about 800MB of Ram. Slooooooooow. Once the patch crap was installed I shut the system down, re-seated the stick, and re-booted. This time 2GB of RAM was found - but even more patches were downloaded and installed. Sheesh. Eventually that stopped, and I went in and stripped out a lot of cruft in the Startup Folder, removed about six different ancient versions of anti-virus that were simultaneously running, removed an ancient version of MSE and installed the newest one, and generally tried to make it better.

I'd say I was 85% successful. Between the RAM and s/w cleanup it's much more responsive, but still an older computer.

Monday  6 May 2012
Monday - Cold and rainy. Too wet for the contractor to's always something.

Feeling much better - I even had solid food for lunch, a hamburger I made, without dire results!

One thing I did recently was to boost the RAM and number of CPU's allocated to the Win7 virtual machine by Parallels.  Since OSX has decided not to recognize GIMP the work around has been to use GIMP in the Win7 partition. I seem to recall initially setting it to 2GB of RAM and two processors, but when GIMP ran very very slow I rechecked - and Parallels was allocating 1GB and 1 processor. So I changed that - pretty easy to do - and things are quite a bit snappier now. Win7 uses about 900MB with nothing else running.

I'm wondering if the GIMP issue on OSX is a security related thing. I was reading up on another task - installing video monitor software for my Canon - and one of the pages I was reading had a procedure for turning off OSX security during install, and then turning it back on. I didn't do that for GIMP, though I seem to remember a dialog prompt about non-app-store stuff coming up.

I've read a couple of books lately, essentially the prequel and sequel to Lirael, a book I read last year - and which isn't on the list for 2012. So I'll add it here.

Book #16 is therefore Sabriel, by Garth Nix. Book #17 was Lirael, and Book #18 was Abhorsen. These were essentially YA fantasy. Well written, not really my cup of tea, but I'm trying to start reading again. I'm not sure what's going on, but my lack of reading in the evenings is bothering me.

Sunday 5 May 2012
Sunday - Happy Cinco de Mayo! From this day in 2002:

"Saturday I managed to injure a finger when the air compressor I was using recoiled. It's black and blue, and all that. So the typing is "hunt and peck" today."

I'd broken part of the bone, the attachment to muscle bit, right off the fingerbone. Multiple surgeries later I had to give up it ever bending at that joint again, and of the other joint ever voluntarily bending again (though I can bend it with the other hand. Paradoxical Extension they call it). There is surprisingly little problem with this in day to day life: mostly a lack of gripping strength in the dominant right hand and a tendency to drop things. And an inability to juggle things one handed - I usually can't, for example, move keys around to pick the correct one out, while holding a grocery bag in the other hand.

This year isn't so bad - still dealing with the Tijuana Two Step, day five, but it's better than it was.

The weather has really changed down in Thousand Oaks, and it should continue cool, humid and with low winds through next week. Even a chance of sprinkles. We gave the go-ahead to the contractor to restart the demolition work, with a heads up to the inspector and fire marshal as well.

There's a nice story to go with the horse in the picture below this week.

The property owner L went out one morning and found, to her surprise, a strange horse in her corral. No id, no note, no sign, no nothing. Just a horse. So she watered it, fed it, did horsey things with it for a couple of weeks. Eventually through the local horse people grapevine she discovered that it was an old race/show horse that had been doomed to becoming dog food by its owner and picked up by a local knacker. Who, upon receipt of the horse decided it was too nice to kill, and unilaterally decided that L was the person to get it (L runs a therapy stable for disabled kids) and just dropped it off. And everything worked out fine. L is happy, the horse is happy, the kids are happy -  even the short legged herding dog (whom the horse ignores) is happy.

Picture of the Week
Old horse, ignoring it's herding collie 
Photo Notes:An old horse and its wanna-be herder, April 2013, Lancaster.

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